I guess when you throw seven touchdowns in one game, your performance the next week is likely going to be a letdown. But Nick Foles version of a letdown was pretty strange, I have to say.
On the surface, Nick Foles completed almost 67 percent of his passes today, threw for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Oh yeah, and the Eagles won 27-13. Sounds like there would be very little to pick apart about Nick Foles performance right? Well, since I have been as outspoken with my support for Foles being the quarterback for the remainder of the season, I think it’s only fair that I present both sides of Nick Foles.
First off, Foles completed 67 percent of his passes, but he only threw the ball 18 times. 12 completions in one game isn’t that impressive.
Sure, he threw three touchdowns, but let’s revisit each one.
The first touchdown, Foles saw an open DeSean Jackson streaking towards the end-zone, but underthrew a ball that should have been intercepted. Instead two Packers defensive backs collided and Tramon Williams essentially created a tip-drill for the Eagles that resulted in the ball bouncing straight into DeSean Jackson’s hands and him walking straight into the end-zone. It was a good idea, but the under-throw from Foles should have been Foles first interception of the season, rather than being his 14th touchdown pass.
Touchdown number two wasn’t pretty either. Nick Foles threw a 45 yard pass that ended up being caught by Riley Cooper who adjusted his route and rolled into the endzone. Again, we’ll take it, but the throw was five yards to far to the right from Foles. Their is no doubt that the wind played a factor in today’s game, just ask Mason Crosby and Alex Henery, but the bottom line is that Foles needs to adjust to the conditions. If the wind is is making throwing deep balls with any accuracy difficult, Foles needs to respect that. That means either don’t throw the ball deep at all, or only throw deep when you have someone wide open.
Foles third touchdown pass was made to a wide open Riley Cooper for a 32 yard touchdown. How can you try to discredit this pass? Cooper was wide open and Foles his him in stride to the endzone.
Cooper had his third 100 yard game with Foles this season Sunday, and now has seven touchdowns this season (six of which have been thrown by Nick Foles). In three seasons prior to 2013, with Michael Vick under center for a majority of the games, Cooper had zero 100 yard games and only five touchdowns. Certainly some credit can be given to Chip Kelly’s offense and Cooper’s development as a player, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that Cooper seems to thrive when Foles plays, and disappear when Vick is in the game.
DeSean Jackson had another solid game today, catching four balls for eighty yards, including the first quarter touchdown. Jackson is in the midst of a career season, having caught 54 passes for 903 yards through the first ten games. Last season Jackson only caught 45 passes for 700 yards in the eleven games he played. Jackson doesn’t seem to be affected by which quarterback plays, having had four 100 plus yard receiving games this season, two coming with Foles and two coming with Vick.
The one guy who did seem to have a dropoff when Nick Foles was playing quarterback, at least in terms of his rushing contributions, was LeSean McCoy. Today, that myth was busted as Shady ran for 155 yards on 25 carries. And Shady has been very valuable with Foles at the helm, in catching screen and swing passes, and rattling of long gains.
Even the offensive line looks to be performing better in front of Foles. Sure, they had one fourth quarter meltdown that led to a Foles fumble, but with the exception of that Foles appears to have a very good amount of time in the pocket. In the first half that seemed to get him into trouble, as he was holding onto the ball too long, but the offensive line giving him time is what is allowing Foles to rack up so many explosive plays.
You can’t tell me that if the Eagles went back to Michael Vick, that it doesn’t change the mindset of the offensive line. Having a running quarterback behind you, allows the idea of taking plays off and getting bailed out by Vick’s legs to creep into your mind as a lineman. The line took about half the season, but they appear to have gained chemistry. So why change things?
So I pointed some of what Nick Foles did wrong, and then explained how the offense appears to be more in sync about him. You’re probably asking what my point is right? Simply that Foles has shown us enough throughout the season that the idea of going back to Michael Vick should be over. Chip Kelly should come out this week and name Foles the starter for the rest of the season.
Is Foles the quarterback that finally puts the Eagles on a parade float? I have no idea. But 17 touchdowns and 0 interceptions to start the season, regardless of the fact he got some help today, makes you wonder.
It’s obvious that Foles still has some work to do. He needs to develop more accuracy on his deep ball, he needs to consistently use his quick release and not hold on to the ball, and he needs to avoid throwing into pressure, like he did a few times today. Foles isn’t perfect, but he is 24 and has shown us enough that we should figure out if he really can be the Eagles franchise quarterback.
I don’t care about who gives a better chance for the Eagles to win the division. We all know if Aaron Rodgers played today that the Eagles would have gotten throttled, and they would be 4-6. Instead they are 5-5, and with a Cowboys loss tonight, could be tied with Cowboys for most wins in the division. That’s great. In the end, the Cowboys are a better team, and this is still a rebuilding year. The Eagles shouldn’t mortgage the future and put Vick back in, for a small chance at going to the playoffs, that would almost certainly end in a first round exit.
And if you ask me, Foles is giving the Eagles just as good of a chance, if not better, of winning the division, and if Kelly names him the starter for the rest of the season, he will be able to decide whether Foles is the Eagles franchise quarterback. It’s time that Chip Kelly names Foles the starter for the rest of the season.